If you are like me, you love your greens. But not just your greens, you love your reds, whites, purples, oranges and your yellows. Basically, a rainbow on your plate! Traveling while living a meat free, dairy free, gluten free or even organic lifestyle isn’t always easy nor is it cheap. But fear not! I, myself, live this foodie lifestyle and have found the greatest places to eat while traveling through Cambodia!
Most of my suggestions are within the Siem Reap Province, as I was living there for 2 months… Also would like to mention that it is very easy to stay within your budget at these restaurants. Most meals I had were under 6$. Yes, a bit pricey for Cambodia, but it is worth the extra dollar!
In no particular order, (because I can not tell you which one is the best! They are all oh-so-good!) here are the restaurants where I basically stuffed my face in the plates…
Sister Srey: Srey;
means woman, female or sister, in Khmer. Kind of pronounced like ‘Stray’ but with no T. Two sisters opened this fabulous restaurant for more reasons than just loving food. The staff are all students that need extra assistance to help balance out the student life and supporting their families. They get educated on multiple topics such as banking, hygiene, learning English and much more. But back to the food! Everything they serve is fresh daily, organic, chemical free, gluten free, vegetarian/vegan AND accommodate to food intolerances. Need I say more? While I was at their restaurant, I had one of their many, freshly squeezed detoxifying juices, as well as a delicious fresh and zesty salad. Served with this colorful salad was some sort of protein coconut ball. I, for one, do NOT like the taste of coconut, but this… made me drool.
Now, here is a little warning. I have not found anywhere a vegetarian burger which contains a vegetarian patty of some sort. While traveling in Battambang, I ordered a burger and it was literally, a bun, mayonnaise, lettuce, the smallest slice of tomato and a full onion*. No patty, no nothing. I was craving a veggie burger, so I decided to try out this little restaurant, and man, I did not regret it what so ever! Once again, the veggie burger I ordered did not have a patty, but they made up for it.. Trust me. Their fries are fresh as well; quite delicious. We also decided to spoil ourselves to a desert. My friend had the dark chocolate cake coulant**, as I had the white chocolate cake coulant. Mine had a lemon syrup as the coulant part of the cake, my friend had a chocolate filling. Personally, I do not like syrups and especially do not like fruity things as a desert. With this said, it was an okay dessert, slightly disappointed as I did not expect the lemony part, and expected white chocolate. On the other hand, the dark chocolate cake coulant was pretty good!
I am weirdly obsessed with pomegranates, so when I saw that there was a dish with the word Pomegranate in it, I took it. It was a fresh salad filled with pomegranates (duh!), almonds, mixed leafy greens and a secret pomegranate vinaigrette. This leafy lunch is called ‘’Tofu-Pomelo-Pomegranate-Salad’’. I also had their Veggie Red Detox Juice; tomatoes, beetroot, carrots, cucumbers and parsley all juiced to perfection and served in a mason jar. It is definitely a required taste, but still yummy. Each Detox Juice they serve is listed with a short explanation of their benefits.
This hidden gem is fully plant-based, organic and gluten-free! They also offer a cleansing program. I have not personally tried it, but if you are looking for a healthy cleansing program, go here! At this little café, I had the Earth to Table Bowl. I was craving chickpeas… And my craving was more than satisfied. I also drank one of their botanical teas, the Revive Infusion to be exact. It was delicious!
Café Central. I went 3 times. I think it is safe to say that it was pretty damn awesome. All three times, I got the Vegan bowl. To die for!! So so so fresh and delicious and filling! I also had the nachos and quesadillas on other occasions. They were good. The only negative note I have is that the vegetarian quesadillas is basically pita stuffed with cheese. On the side are small servings of guac, homemade salsa and sour cream. All in all, I do recommend this restaurant; maybe skip out on the nachos and quesadilla, but do yourself the favor and order the vegan bowl. You are so welcome.
Mad Monkey Hostel:
I went away to the Islands for a week and stayed at the Mad Monkey Backpackers resort***, located on the Island of Koh Rong Samloem. The fruits are sooo juicy and fresh. Every morning I had the ‘’healthy monkey’’; fruits, yogourt and granola. I woke up looking forward to this dish. The menu is also packed with great vegetarian options and are all so so good.
Tuk Tuk Taco:
This little hole in the wall shack looking restaurant is Taco Lovers Paradise. Nothing but tacos are served here. Only one option for vegetarians though, and the servings are quite small. I ordered 2 servings and it was still under 5$.
This is probably the restaurant that has the most diverse menu I have seen in Cambodia. Pages and pages of food. They have various sections; Western food, Traditional Khmer food, Vegetarian Khmer food, etc. I have been to this restaurant the most because it was the closest one to my temporary home and very inexpensive. With a beer and a main course, I never paid more than 5$.
Small, cozy, clean and uber friendly restaurant. The staff are so sweet and speak English very well, (some are even easy on the eyes)! I HIGHLY recommend the Green Papaya Salad & Pomelo Salad. It was very fresh and yummy; felt like a party in my mouth. Ahh, so yummy. And VERY affordable. Those two, plus a beverage, under 5$.. need more convincing?
If you are a Starbucks King or Queen, here is where you want to go! I was craving my, Matcha-Green-Tea-Latte-with-Almond-milk-and-no-syrup, which is my rare go to treat, at the Second Cup back at home. One day I had a quite intense craving for it, so I found this place but they had, Green-Tea-Latte-with-extra-creamy-thick-milk-and-syrup. No dairy substitutes and were confused about the ‘’no syrup’’ part. Regardless, it did hit the spot, for temporary craving relief. This place is almost just as expensive as Starbucks, so if you are on a tight budget, skip out and go to another authentic Cambodian Coffee shop. All the restaurants/cafés listed above have a wide variety of hot drinks. The food is decent as well, not a lot of options for our lifestyle and also on the pricier end of the scale. But like I said, if you REALLY are craving your Non-Fat-Vanilla-Bean-Latte-with-Extra-Foam-No-Syrup-Extra-Hot-with-a-dash-of-Cinnamon, this place is your savior.
Probably the best gelato I have had since my trip to Italy. Nothing can beat gelato from Italy, but this makes it pretty close. They serve unique blends of deliciousness and have new flavors weekly. One bite and you will be on cloud 9.
Well, that is all I have for now. I hope this helped and wasn’t full of blabla or too overwhelming. I do wish it fulfills your cravings and satisfies your taste buds.
Stay true, Stay you, Stay Beautiful,
*If you aren’t the biggest fan of onions, let the waiter know. Here, they love their onions… Some dishes I’ve ordered seem to contain a full onion.
**Coulant; perfect translation in French-Canadian; flowing, runny or leaking. Yes, a leaking cake. But no seriously, it is just a Lava cake.
***On another note, I highly recommend this hostel for young backpackers who like to party. It is a party hostel, they do not hold back! So if you are looking for a quiet night, you are in the wrong place!! The staff are all so friendly and are open to chat about their travel experiences as well.